Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard N. Perle has been called Machiavellian, yet he has always been remarkably straightforward about his goals and opinions. In a recent interview, Perle offered these views:

* On the generals he works with in the Pentagon: "Most of these fellows are not paid to have ideas, when you come right down to it. Asking them to advise on arms control is a little bit unfair. It doesn't come naturally to them."

* On the State Department: "In my view, it doesn't come naturally to the State Department, either . . . . State, of course, never wants to ask for something they think in their judgment they are not going to be able to get . . . . They consider it their mission to achieve agreements rather than to protect the interests and programs and military balance that is the substance of these talks."

* On his reported disagreements with Assistant Secretary of State Richard R. Burt: "His views on arms control are not what are sometimes attributed to him. He's not such a great advocate of arms control."

* On whether the United States should continue abiding by the unratified SALT II arms-control treaty: "No . . . . There is nothing in SALT II that is important for our security."

* On whether State has cut him out of preparations for next week's meeting between Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko: "I'm a little bit suspicious . . . . You can take it as given that there are things going on that I don't know about. Whether they turn out to be consequential, that I don't know."

* On the prospects for the Shultz-Gromyko meeting: "They're going to produce this mouse, and this mouse is going to scurry across the stage and the press is going to say, 'Well, that was it?' And it's not a good situation for the West . . . . A lot of controversy over who's to blame, why more progress wasn't made, more problems in Belgium and the Netherlands [about planned deployment of U.S. nuclear missiles]. You notice everything was going very smoothly during the period of non-negotiations."